Environmental

    Politics

 

        Political Science 3480, Fall 2013

       12:30-1:45, Monday & Wednesday, 206 SSB
       
Click here for a printable version

 

 

 

 

 


 

Instructor: Dave Robertson, 801 Tower                 

Office Hours:    Monday & Wednesday, 11-11:30; Thursday 9:00-Noon 
                                and I will arrange other
times to fit your schedule.

Phone 516-5855; Fax 516-5268, e-mail DaveRobertson@umsl.edu

 

Teaching Assistant: Joseph Bell, office: 810 Tower, hours 3-5 Tuesday / phone: 314-516-5575 / email: jpbvf6@mail.umsl.edu


What Is The Course About?How To Get A Good GradeExamsBooksParticipationThe Paper
Detailed Course ScheduleEnvironmental Politics WebsitesCritical Thinking SkillsEnvironmental Politics Bibliography


1.  What is the Course About?  Our environment provides the beauty that ennobles us and the resources that enrich us.  The way we govern our land, water and air exposes our deepest ideals, our deepest conflicts, and the deepest secrets of politics and government.

 

This course has two goals. Our first goal is to understand the most important environmental controversies, primarily in the United States, and way governments have responded to environmental problems. Topics include water and air pollution, population growth, energy, global warming, solid and hazardous waste, endangered species, and international environmental cooperation.  Our second goal is to build analytical and problem-solving skills. Political science is a discipline that analyzes the way that groups of people work out problems when they disagree about values and are uncertain about facts. Environmental issues offer a great way to explore the way that the United States engages in this kind of problem solving. Environmental problems involve ideological, partisan, class, ethnic, and gender conflicts. They also involve great uncertainty about causes, effects, and risk. If you understand environmental problem solving in the United States, then, you will have a better understanding of solving other kinds of problems. 

By the end of the course, then, you should have (1) mastered a body of basic information about environment issues and policies, and (2) a better command of the problem-solving skills used to make public policy.  To measure your achievement, the course includes extensive class discussion, three examinations, quizzes, and a final paper. 

This course does not require that you have a background in biological or other sciences. 

2. Our Contract.  By enrolling in this course, you and I have agreed to a contract with each other.  I'll work hard to be prepared, enthusiastic, fair and respectful of every student and their opinions.  I'll be accessible and try my best to return graded materials after no more than a week.  By enrolling in the class, you've agreed to (1) attend every class, (2) to participate by asking questions and joining in class discussions, and (3) reading the assigned material and completing assignments on time.  Of all the consumer purchases you make, don't let your University of Missouri education be the one purchase where you expect less for your money.

3. How to Get a Good Grade. The grade for the course will be determined in the following way:

Participation: 10% of the final grade

Quizzes: 10% of the final grade
Exam 1: 15% of the final grade
Exam 2: 15% of the final grade
Exam 3: 20% of the final grade
Paper proposal: 5% of the final grade
Paper Outline/Bibl.: 5% of the final grade

Paper: 20% of the final grade

NOTE: You are not are NOT competing with other students for a grade. There is no curve in this course. Each student can get an A, or can get a D. It's up to you.

4. Exams. There will be three exams (September 25 in class, October 28 in class, and December 11 in our classroom at 10:00 am). Each of the exams will consist of three parts: 20 true / false questions worth 2 points each, 2 identification questions worth 10 points each, and an essay worth 40 points.  The final exam will include an additional essay question. 

5. Books. The following books, which are required reading in this course, are available at the UM-St. Louis bookstore.

Eathorne, Richard, ed. 2013. Annual Editions: Environment 13/14. 31st edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.  Paperback. ISBN: 978-0-07-351562-5

Easton, Thomas A. ed. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Environmental Issues, 15th edition Expanded. Paperback. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013. ISBN: 978-0-07-351454-3.

Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People (any edition - available used and in many public libraries)

Smith, Zachary, The Environmental Policy Paradox, 6th ed. Paperback. Boston: Pearson, 2012.
ISBN: 978-0-205-85588-9

6. Participation. You must participate in this course actively in order for it to work well. You must prepare for and attend class, and you must contribute thoughtfully to discussion. To ensure fairness in allocating this portion of the grade, sign-up sheets will be circulated during some of the classes. If we invite a guest speaker, you can be certain that your absence will reduce your grade.

Your reading assignments are listed on the attached class schedule. You are expected to read the material before coming to class, and you are expected to be prepared to discuss the reading material in class. You may be asked to discuss a question regarding the reading during the class for which the reading is assigned. You will be assigned responsibility for some of the specific debates in the Taking Sides book. You are expected and should plan to participate in class for the trial of Dr. Stockmann (September 16) and the Mediterranean exercise (November 18 and 20).

I strongly encourage you to ask questions about environmental policy and public policy. I strongly encourage you to ask questions about the day's readings and lecture.

7. Environmental Policy Memo. You will write a 12-15 page environmental policy memo for the class. The paper requires you to provide information to federal legislator about an environmental policy issue of your choice. The paper is due no later than Monday December 2. You must turn in two assignments in advance.  First, you have to submit a 1-2 paragraph written proposal for the paper on Wednesday, September 18. This proposal must include must include a statement of a policy question, a statement of why the question matters.   Second, you have to submit an outline of the paper and a bibliography at least 6 sources (no Wikipedia or online encyclopedia) by Wednesday, October 23. The proposal and the outline each are worth 5% of the paper grade.

 

This assignment aims to encourage you to use the course concepts to analyze the environmental problem and policy response of your choice. The purpose is to apply your knowledge of environmental politics to a topic that interests you.  To do that, you should provide information that a policy maker should know about the policy choices involved (you can make up a name, or use a real office, like director of the EPA or Secretary of State, or name the person you are addressing this to – whatever helps you focus on writing the memo).  There are six kinds of things a policy-maker should know about, and you can divide your paper into headings to address each one.  

1.  Why should this issue be on the national agenda?  Explain to the policy-maker how many people the issue affects, and how it affects them.  The policy-maker needs to know as clearly why she or he should care about this issue.  What’s the problem or the danger if something isn’t done?

2.  What are the key things to know about past efforts to deal with this issue?  The policy-maker needs to know what has been done about this issue in the past. This asks about policy development (or if you like, “path dependence”). How have we dealt with this issue in the past?  Has past government policy encouraged behaviors we should change, and if so, how did that evolve?

3.  What are the key alternative choices for addressing this issue, and what are their consequences? The policy-maker needs to know what different choices government can make.  How can government deal with this? What tools are available – command and control? Taxes and subsidies? Cap & Trade? What else.  Remember, doing nothing is an alternative – and a choice.

4.  Who are the key participants in this issue?  The policy-maker needs to know how the influential groups feel about this issue and especially how they feel about the alternative choices.  What businesses are affected: oil? coal? The electrical utilities? The auto industry?  How about the environmental groups? Trade unions?  How about state and local officials and members of the US Congress from different states (Midwestern states are different from states on the West Coast). How powerful are these interests?  How will they react to different alternatives?

5.  Describe the political costs and benefits of different alternatives.  The policy-maker needs to know exactly how the answers to 3 & 4 are connected.  For example, if one of the options is cap and trade, how will the oil companies, the coal companies, and the environmental groups respond? 

6.  What is the best alternative course of action in the future? Based on your answer to questions 3, 4, and 5, explain to the policy maker why one choice is better than others.  Explain not only in environmental and economic terms, but in political terms as well. 

The paper is 13-15 pages.  Grading criteria include: (1) the degree to which you put effort into the paper; (2) the degree to which you use specific facts and figures in your analysis; (3) the fairness, objectivity, and recognition of all points of view demonstrated in the paper; (4) the quality of the writing and organization of the paper; (5) the quality and diversity of the sources; (6) the persuasiveness of the your argument for the proposed improvement in the situation. An "A" paper will be clear, concise, and specific. It will cite at least 8 sources (of which 1 should be from class readings, 2 from outside research articles, and 2 from outside books).

 LATE PAPERS lose 1 point for every day that ends in the letter "y".

8. Quizzes.  There will be six short quizzes in the class: August 28, September 16, October 2, October 14, November 4, and November 18. These quizzes will cover the readings due for that date class and nothing else; the last quiz will cover information you will gather on the nation you are assigned for the Mediterranean exercise.

9. Current Events. Pay closer attention to environmental policy developments this semester. You can do this by reading the St. Louis Post-Dispatch national news section more closely, and by scanning the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal are among the newspapers available daily. The daily St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the New York Times, and USA Today are available free to students at several locations on campus. Grist, the Environmental New Network, and the BBC have very good coverage of environmental issues.  See also the Environmental Politics Links on the course website. The Monkey Cage / Environmental Politics site has very good coverage of the political science work on environmental politics. Google news includes articles from many newspapers around the nation and the world.  The Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report and the National Journal are weekly publications available in the reference area, and they are outstanding sources for national policy developments.

10. Plagiarism.  Plagiarism means taking the written ideas of someone else and presenting them in your writing as if they were your ideas, without giving the author credit.  Plagiarism (a word which comes from the Latin word for kidnapping) is deceitful and dishonest.  Violations that have occurred frequently in the past include not using quotation marks for direct quotes and not giving citations when using someone else's ideas; using long strings of quotations, even when properly attributed, does not constitute a paper of your own.

 

Plagiarism in written work for this class is unacceptable. The University's Student Conduct Code classifies plagiarism as a form of academic dishonesty.  Depending on the severity of the plagiarism, punishment can include receiving no credit for the assignment, failing the course and referral for university disciplinary action.

10. Other Stuff. When I return your exam, please check to make sure that I have computed your grade correctly. Please ask questions! Please be in your seat by the time class begins. Please do not hold private conversations during class. If you do not understand lecture, if you have further questions about lecture, please don't hesitate to interrupt and ask your question.


  COURSE SCHEDULE 

August 19 (Monday)     Introduction: The Stakes

 

August 21 (Wednesday) Dominant Beliefs 1 

    READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 1-18
               Annual Editions
, Numbers 3-4, 8, pages 15-29, 45-47

   

August 26 (Monday)     Dominant Beliefs 2 

    READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 18-38

               Annual Editions, Numbers 1-2, pages 3-14                                                                   

 

August 28 (Wednesday) Prosperity versus the Environment? 

    READ: Taking Sides, Numbers 2 & 3, pages 21-64
               
Annual Editions, Numbers 5, 15, pages 30-39, 79-82   

 QUIZ 

 

September  2 (Monday)   Labor Day - Class does not meet

 

September  4 (Wednesday) Criticisms of the Dominant Social Paradigm

    READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 44-57

                Taking Sides, Number 1 and 4, pages 1-20, 65-84

                                                    

September 9 (Monday) The Puzzles of American Politics

    READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 59-74

 

September 11 (Wednesday)  The Puzzles of American Government

    READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 74-93

                Taking Sides 5, pages 85-109

        

September16 (Monday)     The Trial of Dr. Stockmann

    READ: Ibsen, An Enemy of the People

    QUIZ 

                                                

September 18 (Wednesday) How Does the United States Govern Land?

    READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 254-274

               Annual Editions 21-22, 31, pages 104-108, 142-144

 

    PAPER PROPOSAL DUE (1-2 paragraphs)

 

September 23 (Monday) How Does the United States Govern Land?

    READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 248-254
              
Taking Sides 21, pages 377-392

               Annual Editions, Number 33, pages 150-159               

   

September 25 (Wednesday) EXAM 1 - Study Guide for Exam 1

 

 

September 30 (Monday) How Does the United States Govern Water?

    READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 143-163

 

October  2 (Wednesday) How Does the United States Govern Water?

    READ: Annual Editions, Numbers 23-26, pages 109-126

                Taking Sides, Number 8, pages 148-164

    QUIZ 

 

October  7 (Monday) How Does the United States Govern Energy? Electricity and Coal

    READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 168-175, 182-183

                 Annual Editions, Number 28, pages 133-134
             
 

October 9 (Wednesday) How Does the United States Govern Energy? Oil & Gas

    READ:  Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 182-200

                 Annual Editions, Numbers 7, 27, pages 42-44, 127-132

 

October 14 (Monday) How Does the United States Govern Energy? Other Sources

    READ: Taking Sides, Numbers 9-11, pages 165-221;

               Annual Editions, Numbers 29-30, pages 135-142                                                       

    QUIZ 

 

October 16 (Wednesday) How Does the United States Govern Nuclear Power and Waste?

       READ:  Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 175-181

                     Taking Sides, Numbers 12, 19, pages 222-240, 343-356

                     Annual Editions, Number 16, pages 137-146

 

October 21 (Monday) How Does the United States Govern Hazardous & Solid Waste?

    READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 214-240

               Taking Sides, Numbers 18, pages 343-357

               Annual Editions, Number 16, pages 83-85

 

October 23 (Wednesday) How Does the United States Govern Hazardous & Solid Waste?

    READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 198-214

               Taking Sides, Numbers 16-17, pages 293-326

    PAPER OUTLINE & BIBLIOGRAPHY DUE

 

 

October 28 (Monday)                   EXAM 2 - Study Guide for Exam 2

 

 

October 30 (Wednesday) How Does the United States Govern the Air?

    READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 98-126

 

November  4 (Monday) Climate Change: What Should Government Do?

    READ:  Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 126-132, 289-293

                 Annual Editions, Number 6, pages 40-41
                
Taking Sides, Numbers 6-7, pages 110-147

     QUIZ

 

November  6 (Wednesday) Climate Change / International Problems

    READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 293-300               

                Annual Editions, Numbers 10, 32, 35-37, pages 52-55, 144-149, 163-179 

 

 November 11 (Monday) International Problems

    READ: Taking Sides, Number 14, pages 257-273               

               Annual Editions, Numbers 12, 34, pages 61-65, 144-149                 

 

November 13 (Wednesday) How Does the World Manage International Problems?

    READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 304-322

                Annual Editions Numbers 13, 40, pages 69-75, 189-196

               

November 18 (Monday) The Mediterranean 1      
    READ: Assignment  / State of the Mediterranean                                                   

                               

    QUIZ on Your assigned country 

 

November 20 (Wednesday) The Mediterranean 2

                                                  

November 25 & 27: Thanksgiving Break

 

December  2 (Monday) Population & Food

    READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 282-289

                Taking Sides, Numbers 13, 15, pages 241-256, 274-292

                Annual Editions Numbers 9, 17-22, pages 50-51, 90-108

PAPER DUE  (-1 point for each day late)

 

December  4 (Wednesday) The Future 

    READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 325-327 

                Annual Editions Numbers 11, 39, 41-42, pages 56-60, 186-188, 197-208

 

December 11 (Wednesday)                FINAL EXAM, 10:00-12:00 - Study Guide for Final Exam

  

 


 ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS WEBSITES 

Environmental New Service (ENS) / MSNBC Environment
Earthtrends
The National Library for the Environment / Earth Policy Institute
National Council for Science and the Environment / The Daily Planet
Florida Center for Environmental Studies
Environmental Organizations

Congress /  The President /  The Federal Judicial System / Environmental Law
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Department of the Interior /  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
U.S. Department of Energy / U.S. DOE Energy Topics A-Z
State and local government / Council of State Governments Environmental Policy / Interstate Compacts

Missouri State Government
Missouri Department of Conservation / Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Missouri data

St. Louis City / St. Louis County / St. Charles County / Jefferson County
Missouri Botanical Garden

EPA Envirofacts / St. Louis Air Quality Camera

League of Conservation Voters / Missouri Votes Conservation
Sierra Club / Sierra Club - Ozark Chapter
/ Natural Resources Defense Council / National Audubon Society / Audubon Society-St. Louis
/ National Wildlife Federation / Izaak Walton League / Environmental Defense Fund
/ World Wildlife Federation
/ Missouri Coalition for the Environment / American Rivers
Wilderness Society  /Greenpeace  /Resources for the Future
Nature Conservancy / the Trust for Public Land
/ Sustainable St. Louis / Trailnet / Greenway Network
Friends of the Earth  / Earth First! / Sea Shepards

U.S. Chamber of Commerce / National Association of Manufacturers
National Federation of Independent Business
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers /
American Waterways Operators /
American Farm Bureau / National Corn Growers Association /

National Center for Environmental Economics / Ecofriendly shopping
US Clean Air Market Programs / US Watershed Trading Programs

American Petroleum Institute / Peabody Energy / Nuclear Energy Institute /
MIT Report on the Future of Coal
Platts Energy News / Edison Electric Institute /

CRS Briefing on Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 1996 / CRS Briefing on Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 2001

Heritage Foundation Energy and Environment
Heartland Institute  
Competitive Enterprise Institute / American Land Rights Association

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Pesticide Net
Superfund / EPA Oil Spill program /
Missouri DNR Hazardous Waste Program / Superfund, RCRA, and other environmentally sensitive sites in St. Louis

U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste / St. Louis Region Solid Waste Disposal
Recycler’s World / Missouri Recycling Association
Zero Waste America

Biotechnology Industry Organization

President's Council on Sustainable Development - Final Report / EPA's Community-Based Approaches site /
Northwest Environment Watch / National Geographic's Smart Suburb / Sierra Club Sprawl site / Sprawl City
Smart Growth Online
Sustainable St. Louis / Suburban Sprawl in St. Louis / Confluence Greenway

Biodiversity Webserver / U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation Systems
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program
Defenders of Wildlife / WildAid  / Center for Biological Diversity

Mountain States Legal Foundation / Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise / Defenders of Property Rights
Takings and the Courts

 

Missouri River Basin Association
Coalition to Protect the Missouri River
Midwest Area River Coalition / Coalition to Protect the Missouri River /
Missouri Farm Bureau

The Ocean Conservancy

Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook

United Nations Environment Programme  / UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre
 Yearbook of International Co-operation on Environment and Development
/ Center for International Environmental Law

North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation

World Wildlife Federation Mediterranean Site


THE ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY MEMO 

You will write an environmental policy background memo for a coordinator of environmental and energy issues for one of the two major presidential campaigns. It will be 13-15 pages (typed).

Choose an environmental policy issue, and provide an analysis of the issue for the Senator (it can be a real Senator, or a person you invent). You need to provide OBJECTIVE and specific answers to the following questions:

·  Why should this issue be on the national agenda?  How many people does it affect, and how does it affect them?

·  What are the key things to know about past efforts to deal with this issue? 

·  What are the key choices and alternatives in addressing this issue, and what are their consequences? Not acting at all is an alternative.

·  Who are the key participants in this issue?  Be sure to address key environmental groups, businesses, and other interests.  How powerful are these interests? How will they react to the different alternatives?

·  Describe the political costs and benefits of different alternatives.

·  What is the best alternative course of action in the future? Explain and justify thoroughly.

Grading criteria include: (1) the degree to which you put effort into the paper; (2) the degree to which you use specific facts and figures in your analysis; (3) the fairness, objectivity, and recognition of all points of view demonstrated in the paper; (4) the quality of the writing and organization of the paper; (5) the quality and diversity of the sources; (6) the persuasiveness of the your argument for the proposed improvement in the situation.

An "A" paper will be clear, concise, and specific. It will cite at least 8 sources (of which 1 should be from class readings, 2 from outside research articles, and 2 from outside books).

Regrettably, late papers will lose 1 point a day (as indicated in the syllabus).

Paper grades will be reduced if the papers do not cite their evidence in the body of the paper and at the end of the paper.  Your introduction (1 paragraph maximum) should specifically summarize your argument, your evidence, and your conclusion. Your paper's introduction should be the last thing you write before you submit the paper. The conclusion also should summarize your argument and findings.

Citations must include the author's full name, the date of the piece, and a full reference to it. In the body of your paper, cite the author's last name and the date (and page number, if appropriate) of the piece as follows: (Smith 2012: 103). At the end of your paper, append a bibliography in the following form (for articles, books, and chapters, respectively; note that these are in alphabetical order):

    Crouch, Elisa. 2004. “St. Peters board approves bonds for controversial levee.” St. Louis Post Dispatch. August 14, 2004: 21.  

    Parker, Mario. 2012. "Twenty Five U.S. Senators Ask EPA to Adjust Ethanol Mandate." August 7. Bloomberg BusinessWeek website.     

            http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-08-07/twenty-five-u-dot-s-dot-senators-ask-epa-to-adjust-ethanol-mandate (accessed August 16, 2012)

 

    Smith, Zachary. 2012. The Environmental Policy Paradox. 6th edition. Boston, MA: Pearson.

 

Plagiarism means taking the written ideas of someone else and presenting them in your writing as if they were your ideas, without giving the author credit.  Plagiarism (a word which comes from the Latin word for kidnapping) is deceitful and dishonest.  Violations that have occurred frequently in the past include not using quotation marks for direct quotes and not giving citations when using someone else's ideas; using long strings of quotations, even when properly attributed, does not constitute a paper of your own.

Plagiarism in written work for this class is unacceptable. The University's Student Conduct Code classifies plagiarism as a form of academic dishonesty.  Depending on the severity of the plagiarism, punishment can include receiving no credit for the assignment, failing the course and referral for university disciplinary action.

 


CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS

This course aims to improve critical thinking skills. When you evaluate the articles you read for class or for your journal, or when you participate to discussion, read and listen actively (You can use some of the items in this list directly in assessing articles in your journals; item 7 is especially important).

When you complete the course, you should be more skilled in your ability to:

1. Distinguish Fact and Opinion.

A fact is a statement that can be proven to be true. An opinion is a statement of a person's feelings about something. When you read or listen in this course, actively distinguish fact and opinion by asking:

- When someone asserts that something is true, what's the evidence?

2. Recognize Bias and Rhetoric.

What do you think the person wants readers or listeners to think or do? How does the person use words or phrases to accomplish this? Does the author or speaker paint word pictures that are particularly attractive for the things she likes, or that are especially awful for the things that he doesn't like? How do the authors select examples to stir your emotions?

3. Determine Cause and Effect.

Does the person assert that one fact follows as the result of another? (Examples include such statements as "Increased auto exhaust causes global warming," or "Government regulations cause unemployment"). How sweeping are these assertions? What is the evidence for it? How persuasive is this evidence?

4. Compare and contrast different points of view.

5. Determine the accuracy and completeness of the information provided. When you read more than one point of view on an issue, you should think about the following:

- What facts and cause-effect relationships does everyone agree about?

- What facts and cause-effect relationships do authors or speakers disagree about?

- What important facts do some persons raise, while others ignore?

- What sources could be used to determine the accuracy of the information you hear?

6. Recognize poor logic and faulty reasoning. When you read more than one point of view on an issue, you should think about the following logical problems. Note that the examples often include more than one form of poor logic.

a. Incorrect cause-effect relationships ("The Clean Air Act of 1990 preceded the recent economic recession, therefore the CAA caused the recession" [Were other factors much more influential in bringing about the economic downturn? Did the Clean Air Act have any substantial independent effect on the economy in recent years?])

b. Inaccurate or distorted use of statistics ("Environmental laws of the 1970s failed to reduce pollution;" think about whether, for example, population and economic growth offset environmental gains from policy). Think about widely different assumptions and projections of the future; for example, environmentalists may project that the protection of the Northern spotted owl may cause little net loss of jobs in the Pacific Northwest because they assume that such restrictions will benefit fishing, tourism, and other industries; the logging companies and unions may project the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

c. Faulty analogies or comparisons ("Congress can't balance the federal budget, so how can it clean up the environment?" or "Auto companies have lied about safety, so how can they be trusted on emissions controls?" Such assertions tend to be matters of opinion rather than demonstrable facts).

d. Oversimplifications that ignore important information ("Tougher environmental laws can create jobs in the long run, so the economy will be better off if stricter laws are enacted;" such a statement ignores the number of persons who may be displaced in the short run with a given environmental law).

e. Stereotyping ("all environmentalists are kooks; all conservatives are greedy crooks"). Modifiers such as "all," "never," or "always" often provide a tip off stereotyping).

f. Ignoring the question (when asked if auto emissions cause globalwarming, the person instead talks about the cost of regulation or the potential seriousness of global warming).

g. Faulty generalization (the 1970 Clean Air Act's effort to force automobile companies to drastically reduce emissions failed to cause automobile companies to reach that goal within the original time limit; therefore all environmental legislation is a failure).

7. Develop inferences and draw logical conclusions. Ask yourself:

- What are the person's conclusions?

- Do you agree or disagree with these conclusions?

- What other conclusions could you draw from this information?

- What other information is important to know before making a judgment
   about the value of this person's argument?

 

Background downloaded from http://www.grsites.com
Last Updated
August 9, 2013